Soon after this, Johanan son of Kareah and the other guerrilla leaders came to Gedaliah at Mizpah. They said to him, “Did you know that Baalis, king of Ammon, has sent Ishmael son of Nethaniah to assassinate you?” But Gedaliah refused to believe them.
Later Johanan had a private conference with Gedaliah and volunteered to kill Ishmael secretly. “Why should we let him come and murder you?” Johanan asked. “What will happen then to the Judeans who have returned? Why should the few of us who are still left be scattered and lost?”
But Gedaliah said to Johanan, “I forbid you to do any such thing, for you are lying about Ishmael.”
But in midautumn, Ishmael son of Nethaniah and grandson of Elishama, who was a member of the royal family and had been one of the king’s high officials, went to Mizpah with ten men to meet Gedaliah. While they were eating together, Ishmael and his ten men suddenly jumped up, drew their swords, and killed Gedaliah, whom the king of Babylon had appointed governor. Ishmael also killed all the Judeans and the Babylonian soldiers who were with Gedaliah at Mizpah. (Jeremiah 40:13-41:3)
Gedaliah, appointed governor of Judah, foolishly ignored the warnings of assassination. Ishmael, in the line of David, may have been angry that he had been passed over for leadership, and he was willing to do anything to grab power. Gedaliah had completely misjudged Ishmael’s character and trusted that he meant well. Gedaliah’s naiveté, poor judgment, and unwillingness to listen to good counsel cost him his life.
You might not be in as chaotic a situation as Gedaliah, but it is still important to be wise in every situation. Don’t just rely on your own judgment. Listen to good counsel, and ask God for his guidance and protection.
Is there a situation you’re facing right now that would benefit from additional counsel? Whose wisdom could you seek for additional perspective and advice? Be open and prayerful about what they tell you. Ask God to show you the right path.